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The Year of the Beasts

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  603 ratings  ·  188 reviews
Every summer the trucks roll in, bringing the carnival and its infinite possibilities to town. This year Tessa and her younger sister Lulu are un-chaperoned and want to be first in line to experience the rides, the food... and the boys. Except this summer, jealousy will invade their relationship for the first time, setting in motion a course of events that can only end in ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Roaring Brook Press
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Community Reviews

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I wish I had some kind of superpower that allowed me to touch a book and get a feel of how much it was going to destroy me.
[Also, wouldn’t that make an incredibly geeky fantastic TV programme that only I would watch?]
Because I thought that this book was going to be a sweet book about first kisses and sisters and lovely things.
And it was.
But it was also the kind of book that punches you in the gut.
Multiple times.
And then just as you’ve got your breath back?
That’s it slapping you in the f
I was a teenage gorgon!

Fifteen-year-old Tessa spends her time brooding about WHY Charlie, the attractive, popular boy, prefers her younger sister. In the meantime, she finds possible true love, or at least LUST, with Jasper...but, dammit! He's not socially presentable.

Wow! Such problems...

Maybe I'm just too old for this book. I no longer find teenage-girl-angst charming. I find it gratingly tedious. But my biggest problem with this one is that Tessa seems to have NOTHING ELSE going on with her l
A strange bird here. A story with chapters of YA novel alternating with chapters of graphic novel.

Both stories are related, but the time frames don't mesh. And while the YA novel doesn't have any element of the fantastic involved, the graphic novel is full of mythic elements.

First, let me say that I've enjoyed a lot of Castellucci's work in the past. Good storyteller.

Second, I admire the hell out of her for being willing to take a risk. For being willing to try something new and different. I
Apr 30, 2012 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of experimental forms, mythology or art.
Shelves: 2012, net-galley
4.5 stars

{This review was originally published on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.

I don't know what I was expecting from The Year of the Beasts, but I definitely didn't anticipate having my heart ripped out and stomped to bits in this slim, heart-wrenching novel-meets-comic.

Young adult novelist Cecil Castellucci and comic artist Nate Powell teamed up to create a fascinating story told in alternating chapters. Castellucci's chapters are straight-forward narrative about the changing relationships betwee
BAYA Librarian
Cecil Castellucii and Nate Powell teamed up to deliver this hybrid novel whose disparate parts fail to congeal into a satisfactory whole. Castellucci's prose sections are about a young teen named Tessa whose younger sister Lulu suddenly becomes much cooler than her one summer, winning the hand of the boy Tessa likes. Powell's comics sections -- which appear as alternating chapters -- take place at a high school where everyone has turned into a mythological monster, with the main girl (Tessa) tra ...more
Emma Sea
A magical YA graphic novel, that made me cry in public. Fuck, I'm so mad at Tessa for (view spoiler) Obviously, the story had me gripped.
Reviewed at:

4.5 stars
Such an interesting novel that will definitely get a second read. Told in a dual format of prose and graphic novel, Cecil Castellucci tells us the story of two very different girls- One is a modern day Medusa who hates what she has become and keeps turning everyone she loves into stone; the other is a teenage girl filled with jealousy for her younger sister who is dating the boy of her dreams. When finished with the book, you will def
Hugo Schoen
Cecil Castellucci inspired me with this book. After finishing the last page and glancing at her credits, I thought aloud, "I really need to get involved in writing childrens books". I tore through 'The Year of the Beasts' in just a couple hours, anxious for the emotions that previous reviewers said would come exploding out of my chest. I wanted those tears. My patience was rewarded with the thought that young people today, young readers, must be grossly misjudged in their ability to interpret an ...more
This is one of those books where you realize you are not the target audience the author intended this book for. I felt like a mom while reading this one. I was cringing at the too-many scenes of 13 year old kids making out. I know I was once this age reading Are You There God? It's Me Margaret and thinking that was the best book ever with all its frankness about boys, puberty, and making out. That's why when I found myself having mom-dialogue in my head as I read this book I realized that some b ...more
CLN - Printz possibility #3

"The Year of the Beast," which is getting some Printz buzz, is told in alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel formats. The prose chapters concern two sisters, Tessa and Lulu. When Tessa's younger sister:

1. gets the boy Tessa thinks she likes, Charlie
2. starts hanging out with Tessa's best friend, Celina
3. grows taller and more beautiful

Tessa is consumed with jealousy. Because of her envy, she makes Lulu's life miserable, all the while carrying on a secret rel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is one of those one-summer-changes-everything books. It is the story of Tessa, and her younger sister Lulu, and of Medusa and a Minotaur and a Mermaid all at once. It is a story of jealousy, inadequacy, friendship, and insecurities. Tessa is the ultimate jealous older sister. Pretty understandable, considering how beautiful, charismatic, understanding, and together Lulu, her little sister is. Tessa, with her crazy hair, and her outsider-ness, and utter spazitude with boys, feels like a mess ...more
This book is more a 4.5 star book for me, but I'm rounding up because 1) The prose-graphic novel hybrid genre was unique and pretty dang spectacular and worth an extra point or two, and 2) Cecil is my homegirl, and 3) Why not? Sometimes this book did indeed amaze me.

I really liked the sad, dark places this book went--not only in the events, but the feelings of its main character, Tess. She has some pretty unsavory thoughts about her sister; they are selfish thoughts: immature and complicated and
I picked this up because of the two creators, mainly for Nate Powell but I was also familiar with some of Cecil Castellucci's work. Alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel. Halfway through the book, I asked myself why am I reading this god-awful teenage romance story of secret trysts and sister rivalry and wondered how the graphic portion tied in with the story, thinking this would be better appreciated by tween girls. But a tragedy towards the end redeems the story and cleverly unites t ...more
While I thought the mixed method approach to story telling was neat and well-woven, the story as a whole didn't work for me. There's a mythology to it, and while I got it, I thought the stronger storyline -- the notion of being lost in the shadow of your sister, of being lost in the shadow of yourself -- got swallowed in the mythology. Castellucci writes in a way I really appreciate. It's tight and it's direct, but I felt this book suffered from too much concept and not enough development.

Tom Donaghey
THE YEAR OF THE BEASTS is the type of book that is one of my favorite styles. It takes you on a journey that you think is one thing but then pulls the proverbial rug out from under and suddenly your trip is in a totally different direction.
The alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel was unsettling at first in that I wasn’t certain if this was to be one book or two, but then it became clear. It is all girly jealously and crushes and hand holding and kisses, but the book isn’t about that
Frank Racz
This book is unique in that a graphic novel and novel are alternated between chapters. Immediately the reader is immersed in the realism of the prose and the surreal nature of the graphic novel. Initially the two make little sense as the reader is trying to form a conclusion about how the graphic novel and prose interlink.

The daily depictions of adolescent longing, love, and playful interaction were starting to become standard fair in the prose until the very end. Suddenly the reader cannot hel
I like graphic novels. I also like social teen fiction(as I like to call it). So, the two styles together in one book? Okay. Interesting enough. But, honestly, I really didn't expect to like this book so much. I actually never thought about picking it up from my local library(like a few other books I've come to read). But, like always, I gave it a go and I truly enjoyed it.
The Year of the Beast is a sweet and tragic story about jealously and what it can do to us. If the jealously is real deep, i
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'm a big fan of Castellucci and won this in a Goodreads giveaway but I read the hardcover in the meantime. Here is my previously posted review of the hardcover edition:
I'm a little conflicted about this book because I feel it is lacking resolution, and that 3/4 of the book was character development, with the apex coming almost at the end, leaving little room to explore resolution. The story seems at first to be simply about young teen angst and not fitting in, trying to please parents and frien
Apr 11, 2012 Claire rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya, rev
This is interesting, but it didn't all connect for me. It felt kind of sketched out -- I wanted the details filled in. Loved the parallel narratives, though, and the way the connections between them slowly became clear.
Steph Myers
I loved the Plain Janes, but I had a tough time connecting to this one. I understand the comic story intertwined with the novel. I don't think it was meant to be obvious foreshadowing, but the early talk about Tessa's hair made connecting the two less challenging. The pacing / plot for the book was a bit plodding and then everything happened in a rush at the end. Yes, very shocking and emotionally driven, but too late. If the comics were not interwoven, I don't know that the book would have held ...more
I read this In two days. I loved it! It's very intense and filled with emotion. I love the characters and the story. I love the illustrations and the connection to Greek Mythology. A wonderful book and I'm so glad I have this on my bookshelf. It's a book that I can pick up again and again. I really love the relationships in this book. I love how the unexpected happens. This is a story that will stay with me. The characters too. This is a type of book that pulls you in. It took me back in time to ...more
Edward Sullivan
A compelling tale of jealousy, life-altering tragedy, shame, and grief told in chapters alternating in prose and graphic narrative.
Mar 12, 2014 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of contemporary stories and comics
Recommended to Erin by: My brother
I got this book for Christmas from my brother about a year and a half ago. I had no idea what it was going to be about. The first time I read it, I read it in a day. Now it is only like one hundred and twenty pages, but still, I couldn't put it down. This is one of my absolute favorite books ever. Something that I find very unique about this book is that every other chapter is a comic. The comic tends to mirror and tell the future of the story. So the main character, Tessa, has insanely curly h ...more
Good God.

That's all b/c I've given away too much already.
Angelina Bee
Simple story, nicely woven metaphorical comics. Sad and human.
I'm a little conflicted about this book because I feel it is lacking resolution, and that 3/4 of the book was character development, with the apex coming almost at the end, leaving little room to explore resolution. The story seems at first to be simply about young teen angst and not fitting in, trying to please parents and friends and finding oneself, but then it becomes very dark very suddenly, and there's not much attention placed on diving into that darkness and finding your way out. Also, t ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Tessa and Lulu are sisters and friends. Even though Lulu is a year younger, they get along well until a boy that Tessa likes starts dating Lulu, Tessa’s best friend Celina starts hanging out with Lulu, and Lulu has a growth spurt and gets taller and prettier than Tessa. Tessa’s jealousy starts to take over. The only time Tessa is really happy is when she’s with Jasper, a boy that’s an outcast. Interspersed with the story of Tessa and Lulu is a graphic novel that’s really an allegory – the story ...more
I've been meaning to read Castellucci for some time now. Since this new one got a lot of buzz, I figured it might be an OK place to start. Now, I think I might be hooked.
This is the story of a girl named Tessa who is, this year, just old enough to go to the town's carnival without parental supervision. Tessa is still stuck taking her younger sister, Lulu, along with her and her friends. Tessa isn't happy about it, but it's better than having their parents along. There's a boy, you see, and Tess
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Sno-Isle Mock Printz: The Year of the Beasts 3 10 Oct 30, 2012 06:59PM  
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Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books. Titles include Boy Proof, The Year of the Beasts (illustrated by Nate Powell), First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool The Plain Janes and Janes in Love (illustrated by Jim Rugg), Tin Star and Odd Duck (illustrated by Sara Varon).

Her short stories have been published in various places including Black Clock,
More about Cecil Castellucci...
The Plain Janes (Janes, #1) Odd Duck Boy Proof Janes in Love (Janes, #2) Beige

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“There's a beast in all of us, you know,' Jasper said.
'No,' Tessa said.
'Yes, a monster right inside of us all,' Jasper said.
They wondered what theirs looked like. They faced each other and blinked while making faces to try to capture the phantom.”
More quotes…